JNS.org – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has drawn criticism for its response to the death of Mohammad Abu Khudair, a 17-year-old Arab teen who was found dead in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
“The circumstances of his death remain uncertain, but it appears that Mohammed was not a party to nor instigator of the tragic events of recent days and weeks. But he now has paid the ultimate price regardless,” JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow said in a statement.
The JCPA, which did not immediately respond to a request from JNS.org for clarification on its statement, has come under fire for presumably suggesting that the Palestinian teen was murdered in retribution for the recent killing of the three Jewish teens before Israeli police have been able to conduct a full investigation.
“Why was the Jewish Council compelled to issue this statement within less than 12 hours after news broke and without any investigation by Israeli National Police?” asked Helen Freedman, executive director for Americans for a Safe Israel, in an email.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus, U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press, noted that the JCPA “put out a public statement less than 24 hours after the [Arab teen’s] death was discovered” and that the group “presented itself as judge, jury, and sound system with a verdict of guilt for Israel.”
“Why the rush? It took the JCPA three days to condemn the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers. Perhaps that was due to an abundance of caution—one would not want to falsely accuse anyone. If so, why the different standard here?” wrote Marcus.
The U.S. government was also quick to imply that the Arab teen’s death resulted from a revenge attack.
“The world has too often learned the hard way that violence only leads to more violence and at this tense and dangerous moment, all parties must do everything in their power to protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not recrimination and retribution,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement on Wednesday.